Alleged victims of Kenneth Estabrooks seek lawsuit against Saint John, police force
Published Monday, July 11, 2016 10:01PM ADT
A hearing that will decide whether a class-action lawsuit will be filed against the City of Saint John and its police force was before the court on Monday.
The lawsuit is being brought forward by the alleged victims of Kenneth Estabrooks, who was a former member of the Saint John Police Force and was convicted of molesting four young people between 1957 and 1982.
“It's the opportunity for both sides to present their evidence, so the court can determine whether or not these claims can be heard as a group, can be heard as a class action," said lawyer John McKiggan.
When the allegations of abuse first surfaced, Estabrooks resigned from the police department but was quietly moved to City Works.
There are suggestions that Estabrooks may have abused more than 250 children dating back to the 1950s. He died in 2005.
"There's potentially more than 100 victims of abuse out there,” said McKiggan. “These are vulnerable people. They were children when this happened and now they have, as a result of the abuse, become even more vulnerable.”
Bobby Hayes is one of those alleged victims and is the representative plaintiff for the proposed class-action lawsuit.
"The damages continue to go with the people that are living and carrying this burden until someone is held accountable," said Hayes.
Three days have been set aside for the hearing. But McKiggan expects things will wrap by the end of the day Tuesday.
"It's unlikely we'll receive a decision off the bench,” he said. “Typically the courts will take time to review all the evidence and provide a written decision."
McKiggan is confident the lawsuit will be certified, which Hayes says could bring some relief to him and other alleged victims.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashely Blackford.